Todd Baxter’s Photographs Fool Us Into Thinking That They’re Paintings

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Believe it or not, these images by Todd Baxter are not paintings. They are photos, crafted with a painterly touch that clearly demonstrates the photographer’s influence of other fine art media such as painting, drawing, and sculpture. Baxter loads his compositions with exquisite details, and we see hand-made badges, fur scarves, and even exposed entrails that make up his series Owl Scouts. The surreal coloring and controlled lighting makes it easy to forget that what we’re looking at is a well-considered photograph.

Narrative images tell the story of young scouts that trek through the wilderness and encounter a series of adventures. Some are neat, like when they find an owl that’s been burrowed underground. Other times are more gruesome and include a near-drowning and cut, bloody hand.

The formal considerations of the photographs and their subject matter can’t help but make someone think of Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom. Baxter’s work is more surreal and dark, however, where the woods is a character in the tale of these young scouts. (Via Optically Addicted)

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Filippo Romano’s Portraits of A Nairobi Slum’s Door-To-Door Salesmen

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In photographer Filippo Romano’s fascinating series titled Nomadic Sellers, he documents the roaming salespeople of Africa. The images are mostly focused in eastern Nairobi and specifically in the slum of Mathare, which has a population of 600,000 people within 3 square miles. Each portrait features the peddler and their wares against the washed-out backdrop of the city streets.

We see the men with shoes and bras tied around their necks and arms full of music and wooden utensils. Their earnings are meager, and the goods they sell make a tenth of what pesticide peddlers yield. Those salespeople have most lucrative product and stand to make between 1,000 to 2,000 shellini (10 to 20 euros) in profit.

Romano notes that selling on the streets and going door-to-door is one of the most common trades in the African world. A seller who travels with goods on their back has most likely created their job through the necessity to fend for themselves. They are entrepreneurs.

Nomadic Sellers points to the infectious nature of global consumerism, and how even the far parts of the world want to own a pair of Nikes. At its very core, the series is an intriguing look at the innate human desire to own stuff, no matter how necessary or frivolous it may seem. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Fabrice Fouillet Photographs Huge Monuments In the Context Of Their Surroundings

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Dai Kannon – Sendai, Japan

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Jibo Kannon: Kagaonsen, Japan

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Ataturk Mask: Buca, Izmir, Turkey

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Grand Byakue: Takazaki, Japan

When you see a photograph of a monument, often it’s just of the sculpture itself and not within the context of the larger landscape. It gives the appearance that these colossal constructions live within their own world. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet shatters this illusion in his series titled Colosses, in which he zooms out and provides us with what’s surrounding these massive creations. Many times, they make the monument appear less special and more ordinary.

Fouilllet explains his thinking behind the photographs:

The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscape embracing those monumental commemorative statues. Although hugeness is appealing, exhilarating or even fascinating, I was first intrigued by the human need to build gigantic declarations. Then I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscape, despite their excessive dimensions and their fundamental symbolic and traditional functions?

That is why I chose to photograph the statute from a standpoint outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious) and to favor a more detached view, watching them from the sidelines. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.

The statues that are surrounded by nature fit more comfortably in their environment. It feels less chaotic and a more peaceful place, in line with the intention of many religious practices. But, even when they are among shopping centers, you can’t ignore the stunning presence that these monuments have. (Via Flavorwire)

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William Rugen’s Abstracted Birds-Eye-View Photographs Are The Same, Yet Different

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One of the advantages to the window seat of an airplane is the view below. Flying 35,000 feet above the sky, you see a miniaturized landscape that’s a combination of mixtures of shapes and textures. It’s devoid of the finer details and has the appearance of an abstract painting. Photographer William Rugen captures these type of fractured scenes in his series of images titled Here > There. The monochromatic photographs show roads, fields, and cities in an up-close way that they don’t immediately appear as what they actually are.

We’ve recently seen the dystopian, dizzying effect that aerial photographs have on highways. Rugen’s photographs are disorienting at times, but there is a semblance of structure in the haphazard-looking scenes. Lines of the road fracture and corral the different (yet similar) shapes of the ground and break them up like a cubist painting. They reveal a patchwork of stories, development, and planning, which is inevitably the same wherever you travel, no matter what the physical differences might be.

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Photo Series Examines Abandoned Suitcases From A Now-Closed Mental Hospital

Ethel S packed a suitcase full of quilts.

Ethel had a suitcase of cozy quilts.

Irma’s trunk was full of sheet music.

Irma’s trunk was full of sheet music.

Freda packed a collection of grooming materials.

Freda packed a collection of grooming materials.

Viola G.’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.

Viola’s plaid suitcase was empty except for this tiny scrap of paper.

When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes area closed its doors in 1995, staff member Bev Courtwright made a miraculous discovery. Tucked away in the attic were a collection of over 400 abandoned suitcases containing the possessions of their original owners before they were committed to the institution. Photographer Jon Crispin began documenting the collections of belongings in 2011, offering a poignant look into the lives of the people who entered this place (and often never left).

The patients and their suitcases arrived at the Center between 1910 and 1960. Since many of them were treated for chronic mental illness, it wasn’t uncommon that patients died while in the hospital and were buried in the graveyard across the street. If no family member came to claim their belongings, they were taken and stored in the room where Courtwright eventually found them.

The suitcases and trunks vary in their contents, of course, and some were more robustly-packed than others. This fascinating series that examines the objects we hold sacred and what we’re personally attached to, as strange as they may seem. Crispin’s website sheds light on the individual stories of each patient, and in a way memorializes those who owned them. (Via Let’s Get Lost. H/T Meighan O’Toole)

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Photographer Hal Vacuum Seals Couples In Bizarre Condom Ads

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Japanese Photographer Hal has crafted a bizarre-yet-eye catching series titled Fresh Love, which features an intimate couple vacuumed sealed together. It’s part of an advertisement for Condomania Shop in Tokyo, and it plays on the idea of what the shop sells, which, if you couldn’t guess, is condoms.

This series cleverly references a tightly-encased object and the aesthetics of a condom in all of its shrink-wrapped glory. We see an abstracted and visceral view of people, distorted by both the plastic, proximity towards each other, and the lack of space. Flesh is pressed against the surface and every hair and blemish is visible. It’s partially disgusting to see flesh that contorted, but creates a fascinating effect.

Due to the limited air supply, the couples could only be left inside the sealed bag for about 10 seconds. If you’re curious about the photographer and his creative process, check out the video after the jump. It explores the ways in which he achieved his vision and the feelings of the couples involved with the project. (Via designboom)

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Maciek Jasik’s Surreal Photography Blurs The Identity Of Nude Bodies

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Polish photographer Maciek Jasik creates blurry, colorful compositions that feature both female and male nudes. Jasik’s subjects exist in a surreal, hazy and colorful landscape, one that nullifies their identity but exposes their natural state of being. The artist is particularly interested in conveying privacy, expression through a medium [photography] that, for the most part, focuses on revealing detailed and realistic portrayals.

Inspired by the emotionally charged impressionist painting of the 19th century, Jasik insists in creating work with photographic techniques that more or less do the same as a loose brushstroke on canvas.

“I began experimenting with an in-camera technique to dissolve the focus and saturate the space with color. There were several post-Impressionist paintings there that stunned me with how emotionally powerful they were, with scarcely any detail, I wanted to evoke that same feeling in photography by emphasizing color and movement.”

(via HuffPost)

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The Crowded Horror Of Hubert Blanz’ Ariel Photographs Of Highways

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As natural gas reserves lessen and human population increases, many artists have taken the task of portraying dystopian versions of our world, visually demonstrating the costs of urban sprawl. Viennese-based photographer Hubert Blanz has taken the expansion of the world’s highways to their terrifying logical conclusion, offering a digitally collaged set of images which imagines the road systems stacked upon each other in endless repetition.

Offering visions of a planet covered by concrete and blacktop, there is a swirling, organized chaos found in the photos, one which mirrors the many present day megalopolis of the world. Displaying roads which lead to nowhere, but are expansions built upon assumptions of the future we are heading towards, the Hindelang, Germany-born Blanz explains his quixotic photoseries; “Roadshow is a series of images formed and built up from the digital recordings of pre-existing freeways networks, roads, bridges, and intersections. The images are both documentations of actual built spaces and the imaginary re-creation of potential new cities.” (via foxgrl) 

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